homemade cheese: Caerphilly
(pronunciation from this site) In my pressed homemade cheeses I lose one of the defining characteristics of a cheese: its particular shape (forma). This is because I only have one press (of which you can see a photo in this post), so all the cheeses I make that require pressing have the same shape (some are taller, some are shorter, depending on the weight applied to them and on how long they are pressed). Hence, I hope you'll forgive me if in my photos, you keep seeing cylindrical cheeses, whole or sliced.
I had wanted to make Caerphilly for a while, but I had to get a special culture to do so. Once the culture arrived, I immediately proceeded to follow the recipe in the book 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes by Debra Amrein-Boyes. The procedure gives two options for aging the cheese: with a natural rind or with a waxed one. I went with the latter, because in the absence of a cheese cave, it is easier for me to handle waxed-rind cheese. I let my Caerphilly age for two months.
Cutting the first slice from a cheese is always an emotional moment for me. Months of waiting patiently culminate in the blade diving into the heart of the cheese. After the blade, it is time for eyes and nose to do their inspection. In this case, both senses were pleased. The mouth, then, confirmed the positive report: This is a good cheese. And it is also a good-looking cheese. Before you look closely at my rendition of this traditional cheese from Wales, you may want to go to this page and see an example of the real thing, and also read the interesting story of this cheese. I did not use raw milk (latte crudo) to make the cheese, but organic pasteurized milk, as usual.
The description ends thus: "Caerphilly's moist paste is straw-colored with a distinctive strip of snowy white in its center." The photo on the left shows a slice of my Caerphilly: you can see the straw-colored paste with a strip of snowy white in the center.
This article by Janet Fletcher also describes the characteristics of this lovely cheese: "At the center it will be pale, slightly crumbly and lemony on the palate. Toward the rind, the paste will be creamier, darker and earthier in flavor."
This page has additional information on Caerphilly, including something about the way it ages.
And if you like castles, you may want to take a look at Caerphilly Castle.
We have been enjoying this cheese by itself, with some of my homemade bread and crackers. It's a treat to have small bites of it on a cheese board and take one to your mouth every now and then. I have also crumbled some of the white part of the cheese and add it to my zuppa di zucca e pere arrosto, a variation, in a sense, on the theme of formaggio con le pere.
I am submitting this post to the year long Cheesepalooza project, organized by Valerie of A Canadian Foodie . Caerphilly is one of the cheeses that the group has made in December 2012, so I am contributing my adventures to the effort. This post contains the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the formaggio fatto in casa: Caerphilly audio file [mp3].
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